Performing Shakespeare

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
20 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module involves an intensive study of four Shakespeare texts (a history play, a comedy, a tragedy and a late play). Students on the module will take a series of practical performance workshops, combined with academic lecture-seminar sessions, one per week throughout the Autumn and Spring terms, leading to a Summer term when students will work towards an assessed performance of a two-handed scene from one of the Shakespeare plays studied.

The practical workshops focus on an actor's approach to performing Shakespeare, and will include rehearsal exercises, approaches to verse-speaking, breath and movement when working on a classical text, characterization, handling imagery, and conveying meaning in performance.

Lecture-seminars will offer a thorough grounding in the historical and theoretical contexts of each play, and will involve close textual analysis as well as discussing different productions of the plays both on film and in the theatre. Different directorial approaches will be compared and analysed.

Because there are only four primary texts it is imperative that these should be thoroughly and closely read. The aims of the module are for students to have a deep knowledge and understanding of important works from the Shakespeare canon; to achieve a confident relationship with the language, the dramatic conventions and generic characteristics of a range of key plays; to learn and put into practice a variety of acting approaches to Shakespeare; to be able to compare and analyse different directorial approaches to Shakespeare in production; to analyse and compare film and theatre productions, and to take both a creative and critical approach to the performance of Shakespeare .

Module aims

No information available.

Module learning outcomes

No information available.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching is by seminar and practical work.


  • William Shakespeare; Jonathan Bate; Eric Rasmussen. (2009) Henry IV, Part I, Basingstoke: Macmillan. vol. The RSC Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare, William; Bate, Jonathan; Rasmussen, Eric. (2009) Othello, Basingstoke: Macmillan. vol. The RSC Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare, William; Bate, Jonathan; Rasmussen, Eric. (2010) Twelfth night, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. vol. The RSC Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare, William; Bate, Jonathan; Rasmussen, Eric. (2009) The winter's tale, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Essay (2,500 words) 14/02/2020 25%
Coursework Written Practical Workbook (Actors Reflective Journal) 07/05/2020 35%
Practical Performance of a Scene in Class 35%
Practical Participation 5%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Patricia Gillies
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Anthony Fisher
Reader in Theatre and Philosophy
Available via Moodle
Of 55 hours, 47 (85.5%) hours available to students:
8 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.